What does the Bible say about soul sleep?Question: "What does the Bible say about soul sleep?"
Answer: “Soul sleep” is a belief that after a person dies, his/her soul “sleeps” until the resurrection and final judgment. The concept of “soul sleep” is not biblical. When the Bible describes a person “sleeping” in relation to death (Luke 8:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6), it does not mean literal sleep. Sleeping is just a way to describe death because a dead body appears to be asleep. The moment we die, we face the judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27). For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). For unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in hell (Luke 16:22-23).
Until the final resurrection, though, there is a temporary heaven—paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4) and a temporary hell—Hades (Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14). As can be clearly seen in Luke 16:19-31, neither in paradise nor in Hades are people sleeping. It could be said, though, that a person’s body is “sleeping” while his soul is in paradise or Hades. At the resurrection, this body is “awakened” and transformed into the everlasting body a person will possess for eternity, whether in heaven or hell. Those who were in paradise will be sent to the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1). Those who were in Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people—based entirely on whether or not a person trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Present-day defenders of soul sleep include the Seventh Day Adventist church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, and others.
Recommended Resource: Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Better Bible Study with Logos Bible Software—Get $100 off any base package.
Afrikaans, عربى, Bosanski, Български, Cesky, 简体中文, 繁體中文, Dansk, Deutsch, Español, پارسی, Français, Ελληνικά, हिन्दी, Hrvatski, Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, Kiswahili, 한국어, Latviešu, Lietuvių, Magyar, Nederlands, Polski, Português, Română, Русский, සිංහල, Slovenčina, Srpski, Suomi, Tagalog, ภาษาไทย, Türkçe, українська, اُردُو, Việt
What happens after death?
Are there different levels of Heaven?
What does it mean to be absent from the body?
Will we sleep in heaven?
Why is sleep/sleeping necessary? Why did God create us with the need to sleep?
Questions about Heaven, Hell, and Eternity
What does the Bible say about soul sleep?